Twenty-four individuals have been selected for Class 50 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders. The new fellows were recently inaugurated into the program at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Class 50 fellows are Celeste Alonzo, Coachella; Leeann Bettencourt, Santa Maria; Tyler Blackney, Sacramento; Adrian Calixtro, Selma; Yezmin Carrasco Valle, Oxnard; Mitch Coit, Firebaugh; Kris Costa, Turlock; Natasha Crivelli, Dos Palos; Rocco Cunningham, Petaluma; Brian Gill, Exeter; Erin Gorter, Templeton; Megan Grima, Yuba City; Ted Kingsley, Williams; Lindsey Liebig, Galt; Holly Little, Walnut Grove; Julian Lopez, Imperial; Megan Marques, San Luis Obispo; Jonathan Merrill, Salinas; Michael Newton, Stratford; Erin O’Donnell, Arbuckle; Brian O’Neill, Fresno; Matt Peyret, Woodland; Priscilla Rodriguez, Fresno and Trevor Tagg, El Centro.
Through dynamic seminars during an intensive 17-month program, fellows will study leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical and strategic thinking, change management, emotional intelligence, and complex social and cultural issues. Seminars are delivered by four partner universities: Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, and UC Davis. Fellows will participate in 55 seminar days, including an eight-day national travel seminar and a 15-day international travel seminar.
“After an application and alumni-assisted interview process that witnessed a record number of applicants, we are very pleased to announce the 24 individuals making up Class 50,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF). “This distinguished group, made up of 12 women and 12 men, will begin their 17-month formal leadership program shortly, but more importantly, this is the start of a lifelong leadership process that will not only make them better leaders, but benefit California agriculture as well.”
CALF invests approximately $55,000 per fellow to participate in the program, which is underwritten by individual and industry donations. Ag Leadership is considered to be one of the premier leadership programs in the United States. Since it was first delivered in 1970, more than 1,300 men and women have participated in the program and have become influential leaders and active volunteers in the agriculture industry and other areas.
Julian is the supervisor of the Pesticide Use Enforcement Division of the Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner. He helps ensure that crop protection materials are used appropriately and in a way that respects workers and the broader environment. He also analyzes legislation and communicates impacts on the industry and the public via correspondence and presentations.
Trevor is the vice president of West-Gro Farms, his family’s third-generation farming operation. He is involved in marketing, strategic planning, sales, and the pesticide program for the operation that produces a variety of forage commodities, sunflowers, and hemp. He is also a broker and owner of the Bear Surf Property Co., a residential and ag property sales and management firm.